[QODLink]
Americas

Killer whales trapped under ice in Canada

Locals call on government for help as mammals gather around a single hole in the ice trying to get oxygen.
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2013 09:20

Residents of Inukjuak in Quebec's Far North are calling for outside help after about a dozen killer whales became trapped under a vast stretch of sea ice.

Locals said the mammals have gathered around a single hole in the ice - slightly bigger than a pickup truck - in a desperate bid to get oxygen.

Mayor Peter Inukpuk urged the Canadian government to send an icebreaker as soon as possible to crack open the ice and help the whales find open water.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it is sending officials to assess the situation.

"Fisheries and Oceans Canada is assessing the situation and are exploring every possible option, but will only be in a position to determine what - if anything - can be done once our specialists arrive on site," spokesman Frank Stanek said in a statement.

A hunter first spotted the pod of about a dozen trapped whales on Tuesday at the hole, which is on the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay.

Inukjuak is about 1,500km north of Montreal.

Caught off guard

Dozens of villagers made the one-hour snowmobile ride on Tuesday to see the unusual spectacle.

They snapped photos and shot video footage of the killer whales surfacing in the opening - and even thrusting themselves skyward while gasping for air.

One woman who made the journey to the gap in the ice said even a curious polar bear approached the hole amid the commotion.

Siasie Kasudluak said the bear was shot by a local hunter for its meat.

The trapped orcas appeared to be in distress, but locals were ill-equipped to help out.

Kasudluak said the hole appeared to be shrinking in the freezing temperatures.

Inukpuk believes the sudden drop in temperature recently caught the whales off guard, leaving them boxed in under the ice.

299

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list